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Breaking All The Rules: Cosplay and the Art of Self Expression

TitleBreaking All The Rules: Cosplay and the Art of Self Expression
AuthorGer Tysk
Release Date2013
Pages / Dimensions216 / 8″ x 10″
PublisherEdition One
Country / languageUnited States, English


Breaking All the Rules is a photobook that showcases the people behind the costumes. Cosplay is a hobby that breaks all the rules: anyone of any size, any race, any age, any gender, any background, can cosplay. For the past year, I’ve been traveling around the East Coast taking photos of cosplayers in costume and asking them why they’re so in love with this hobby and the culture around it. I’d like to expand my travels to the rest of the country and interview cosplayers around the United States about their personal cosplay stories, and discover more about the history behind cosplaying and fan conventions.

This book will be a compliation of all those photographs and interviews, showcasing cosplayers in their own words. I’m raising funds here on Indiegogo to take the photographs needed for the book, and then design, print, and publish them in a full-color photobook. I don’t have the money to make this book happen on my own, but thanks to Indiegogo, I want to make this project a reality.

This is a book for cosplayers, people who love cosplayers, and also those asking what cosplay is. While it may seem strange to express oneself through a costume designed for a fictional character, those characters are the most important part. People’s lives are changed by stories, factual or fictional, every day. Those characters in those stories – the characters who they cosplay – have helped people discover new, different parts of themselves. Cosplay is the ultimate tribute, to say that yes, my outlook, my friendships, and my life have forever changed because of this story.

In this book, I’m sharing the new stories that have come about because of these tributes. The cosplayers I’m photographing and interviewing are everyday, ordinary people. They’re students, waitresses, software engineers, musicians, chemists, retail assistants, and managers who, several times a year, put on a costume and become outlaws, fallen villains, ingenues, femme fatales, knights, and heroes starting out on their journeys. They are all extraordinary.

Even in the United States there are many hundreds of thousands of cosplayers, more than I could ever fit into a single book. But I hope this book is a beginning. I hope it can start dialogues between people, no matter how diverse their backgrounds. When asked, “why do you cosplay?” I hope someone can flip through the pages of this book and point to the cosplayers describing in their own words how cosplay has profoundly changed them and made their world a better place.

(from Get Tysk crowdfunding page)


Breaking All The Rules (Archived website)
Breaking All The Rules (Amazon)
Breaking All The Rules (Ebay)

Conversation with Ger Tysk 10 years later


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